Mass. lawmakers unveil compromise transportation bill - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Mass. lawmakers unveil compromise transportation bill

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BOSTON - House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a transportation finance bill that includes an increase in gasoline and cigarette taxes in Massachusetts.

State lawmakers are also expected to decide whether to restore tolls on the western section of the Mass Pike between Exit 1 in the town of West Stockbridge and Exit 6 in the city of Springfield - a stretch of road that has been free for drivers since 1996.

The measure would close a projected $118 million deficit in the MBTA and provide funds to modernize the state's aging transportation system.

In a joint statement Tuesday night, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray called the compromise bill a "responsible and efficient use of revenues that will solve the current transportation funding gap."

The bill now faces an up or down vote in both chambers, possibly as early as Wednesday.

"It's a bold step for the legislature," said Smitty Pignatelli, D-4th Berkshire District. "We need to make changes to enhance the aging infrastructure. It costs money to maintain the roads, so it should be no problem for drivers to pay for it."

The bill would raise about $500 million in new revenues, including a 3 cent hike in the gasoline tax to 24 cents a gallon, and a $1 increase in the cigarette tax.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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